Ioanni Mitsakis June 12th, 2017

SEO in a Nutshell: To Reach Google’s Page 1 Pay Attention to Links, Content, Keywords, and Performance

Search engine optimization (SEO) is not rocket science, and anyone can do it with a rather small effort. You just shouldn't believe the gurus and focus on a few aspects that make up the majority of your ranking success instead.

SEO: Pseudo-Scientifical Shamanism Dancing Around the Holy Grail of Google SERPs

Did I mention that I have a rather reserved stance on the SEO branch? The highly complicated, pseudo-scientific style is what scares me off. There's no way that you either have to learn a 700-page book on the topic by heart or pay for an expensive SEO service just to get your website a proper ranking in the Google search results. Image by Cor Gaasbeek from Pixabay And you know what? That actually isn't the case. Actually, there are only a few aspects that you need to pay attention to if you want a proper placement for your site. Of course, you can always dive into more details, dig even deeper. But keep in mind that the old Pareto rule also applies here. With 20 percent of the effort, you'll achieve 80 percent of the success. That's enough for me, what about you? These are the aspects you should actually focus on:


It has always been like that, and it's probably always going to stay this way. The more pages the Google Crawler finds that have placed a link to your pages, the higher the guys from Mountain View will rank you in the results. This logic is feasible. If there are that many external websites agreeing that your content is good enough to link it, there has to be some truth in that. That's Google's way of referral marketing. However, to prevent you from turning this referral marketing into a multi-level approach, the Californians also make sure that the incoming links are relevant as well. So, if you run a magazine on paragliding, Google will acknowledge links to your magazine coming from the sanitary wholesale, but it won't consider them for the ranking. Photo by Clint Adair on Unsplash This is supposed to make sure that backlinks are not only good in terms of quantity but quality as well. How do you get to this kind of backlinks?


This leads us to the second important aspect, your content. If you're looking around on the web for a bit, you'll have an easy time finding content that has clearly been written for ranking purposes only. These texts are often very long, and full of keywords, while being weak in terms of actual content, and not worth reading. This type of content does not help you in your overall concept. In order to get external links in an organic way, without buying them, you need excellent content. Otherwise, there is no reason for an external page to link to your content. Excellent content is well researched, clearly worded, interesting, and exhaustive. It deals with a subject in a way that requires no further sources, as everything users need to know is already included. Naturally, these texts are long, which generally is a good thing. An important factor, related to the quality of your content, is the bounce rate. Google checks, how long your visitors stay on the website. If the leave the area within seconds, Google rates that as a negative sign. This would mean that your content is not as relevant as you thought. However, if your content is good, but you still have a high bounce rate, you should check if your definition of "good" is not a bit lackluster. I know fantastic texts that are 100 percent true and profound, yet nobody wants to read them. This has many reasons. It can be because of the typography, or because of a generally messy page design. It may be because there are no images or another type of structural clearing up. In other words: content without design doesn't work. Clear up your texts, so that not only Google but also your real readers like them. If you do that, the chance of the latter to stay on your website for longer increases, and the bounce rate improves.


It's also good to define relevant keywords, and use them in the text. All of this has to stay natural, though, and shouldn't seem constructed. The only construction that's allowed is when it comes to headings and your website's title tag. Here, the keyword coming first is always positive. This way, the Google crawler gains the impression that this is content that specifically deals with the respective topic. While you can bend the title tag however you want to, please make sure to keep the headings legible. Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay Similar to the previously mentioned backlinks, Google also pays attention to the relevance of the used keywords. So you can't just sprinkle keywords into your texts that don't have anything to do with the content. This used to be very popular in the past, but nowadays, the search engine giant notices when people try to fool it like that.


On Dr. Web, you'll find entire series of articles on this topic. Ever since performance, meaning a website's loading speed, became a ranking factor in 2010, you should have looked very deep into it. Visitors will thank you for that by not leaving your website right away. Image by alan9187 from Pixabay Experts are not sure to what extent Google currently uses the loading speed as a ranking factor. Some claim the topic was done with by now. I think, that the general speed increase in the web since 2010 may have lead to loading speeds being less problematic. Nonetheless, going for a loading speed of at least below two seconds is recommended. WordPress users can find our big series on the topic here. In general, responsive web design results in a better performance, as slim layouts are preferred here. As mobile friendliness is also a Google ranking factor, you can kill two birds with one stone here.


You need a slim, fast design, for both your website overall and your individual contents. Backlinks are generated via top-notch content that doesn't leave any questions unanswered, doesn't have an ad-like character, and is interesting enough to make users want to read it. Use keywords to make Google notice that your content is relevant. Is this a shortened way of explaining this? Of course, it is. But that's why I wrote the entire text above the conclusion. Now, go follow the mentioned aspects, and bring your Pareto effect to life. Photo by GR Stocks on Unsplash

Ioanni Mitsakis

Ioanni Mitsakis is front-end developer at a major European automotive supplier and responsible for the look & feel of their internal cloud-based apps. As his employer works internationally with distributed teams world-wide, a rock-solid development foundation is what Ioanni aims for. He better should ;-)


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